Florida Master Gardener is a title granted by the University of Florida-Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (IFAS) to individuals who complete their Master Gardener course and the required volunteer hours. These are individuals who are interested in:
- Horticulture, botany, ecology, natural history, soil science, landscape ecology, urban forestry, natural resource management
- Educating and helping others
- Making civic contributions through volunteer work
- Statewide program information and policies may be found at the University of Florida Master Gardener Program
What does a Master Gardener do?
Master Gardeners make an important contribution to the community by volunteering their time and learned expertise to assisting the County Extension Agents in several important ways.
- At the Extension office, Master Gardeners help answer homeowner questions about Florida Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL):
- Water conservation
- Wildflower and vegetable gardening
- Tree, shrub, and lawn care
- Plant selection
- Weed, insect, and disease identification and management
- Landscape design
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Composting, recycling, and mulching
- Advanced Master Gardeners assist the County Agents with:
- Helping to start demonstration and community gardens
- Horticultural presentations and demonstrations
- Diagnostic plant clinics
- Exploring environmentally friendly gardening practices
- Staffing information booths at community events
- Teaching horticulture to beginner gardeners
- Serving as local Master Gardener Coordinators running Mobile Extension Offices
- Working with 4-H FFL youth
Master Gardener Class Residency Requirement
While being a resident of Broward County is not required, you must serve all of your 75 pre-approved hours (40 in the office) doing nonprofit volunteer work in Broward County.
The nature of our program requires that you have daily computer access and a working private e-mail account to be eligible because all notices regarding class homework assignments, volunteering opportunities, volunteer hour reporting, and other information are communicated via e-mail only.
Volunteering with Broward County is subject to satisfactory completion of a background check, including, but not limited to, verification of education, previous employment, criminal records, and driving records history as recorded in the personnel or other records of any previous employer, law enforcement organization, state or federal agencies, or any school that you have attended. Further, a volunteer will be required to enter into a waiver, release and such indemnity agreement releasing Broward County from any liability whatsoever in connection with such background check verification, use of the results in the volunteer screening process, and from any liability to third persons caused by the direct or indirect actions of the volunteer.
How is a Master Gardener trained?
Through the Master Gardener training program, participants receive more than 114 hours of classroom and field training from University of Florida professors, Program staff, and County agents. The program is offered annually by the Broward County Extension Education Division.
Master Gardeners learn about subjects that allow them to carry out all the functions previously described plus some special subjects such as sustainable tropical fruit culture and electronic information resources.
Where and when do classes take place?
Classes take place in the spring (March to June) of each year and will meet every Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (15 weeks). Sessions usually take place at Plantation Heritage Park's Fountain Room in Plantation, Florida, with the exception of field trips.
What does it cost?
Florida Master Gardeners of Broward County must serve 75 preapproved volunteer hours for the Broward County Extension Office during their first year; 35 hours of service and 10 hours of education each year after that for recertification. The course fee is $275, which covers the cost of educational materials (books, ID card decks, handouts) and a good faith security deposit of $200. The deposit will be returned once the 75 approved volunteer hours are served within the first calendar year after successful completion of the course.
How do I become a Master Gardener?
By successfully completing the Master Gardener training course and serving 75 pre-approved volunteer hours for the Urban Horticulture Extension program during the first calendar year after passing the lecture and laboratory exams.
How can I apply to be a Master Gardener?
To apply for the next Master Gardener class, register for our contact list. Your name, telephone number, and email address are required. Please contact the main Master Gardener number at 954-357-5121 or contact the Horticulture Technician.
Interviews are necessary and will be held the last two weeks of the month before the start of class. Please bring a photo I.D. to the interview. You will receive information via email with the specific days and times, if you are on the contact list.
If you need additional information on the next Master Gardener class, please contact the Horticulture Technician.
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